Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for June, 2020

“Apart in certain times, but together in spirit and song.”

Rodean School Choir
Johannesburg, South Africa

 

Together In Separation

Through times of crisis we have historically come together to help one another. Hurricanes, terrorist attacks and mass shootings have brought us physically together. People reached out to one another with a helping hand or a hug. The Covid-19 virus, however, has physically separated us and there can be no meetings, concerts, theater or social events.

Views on racism and politics have severely divided us emotionally and philosophically. Our country has been tossed into chaos and conflict. We are a troubled nation, and this time, our adversaries aren’t without, they are within our own selves. As a people, we find ourselves on the precipice of a major contextual choice between connection or separation. We can stand together in unity and support each other with understanding and compassion or remain divided filled with judgments and self-righteousness and fall.

The media highlights acts of violence when all around are multitudes of peaceful protesters. Politicians seeking power and personal gain attempt to throw us into turmoil with daily atrocities. The kind of physical contact that has traditionally brought people close has been removed, but that does not mean we are devoid of displays of humanity. We see examples of generosity, caring and heroism all around us as neighbors help each other, as people risk their lives for others to live and as masses refuse to remain silent in the face of injustice. These lights of hope continue to shine through as they remind us of who we are and what kind of world we want to build. Now is the time.

I have tremendous faith in the human spirit. Through all my years of working with thousands of people world-wide from all races, creeds and cultures, I have found that given a clear choice, people always choose to unite and connect. We are hungry for love and are starving to be loved in return.

Please view this video and experience the African version of the Hallelujah Chorus, a beautiful blend of cultures in harmony. (Click on picture to watch)

We share this theater together
And watch the act patiently.
We applaud those who perform well,
And even louder and harder for those who only had the courage to try.
We watch the dancers on the stage,
Our youth on stage,
Ourselves on stage.

It is beautiful.
It is raw.
It is real.
It is not perfect and some will fall,
But we all feel together.
We lift each other up.
It is love.

We are all together
On the stage as actors,
As graceful dancers,
And brilliant musicians
Performing as one.

We are all connected
In the audience as proud parents,
As loving relatives,
And respectful friends,
Cheering as one.

It is not perfect.
It is life,
Raw and real.
Some will fall,
But we all feel together
And we’ll lift each other up
As one.
For ourselves,
And for each other.

The Human Connection by Daniel Farnam

 

Thank you to my good friend, Diane D who shared this beautiful video with us

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

“I looked into the window and saw a Negro.”

 

I was an only child, born in 1944 and brought up on a small farm in New England. That’s me in the plaid dress. In the town of 1,500, there were no people of color, black, brown, yellow or red—only white. That didn’t mean there wasn’t prejudice, however, because there was very distinct religious discrimination.

People gained status any way they could. In our minds, Baptists didn’t even exist and the Presbyterians and Methodists didn’t possess much prestige because they didn’t have a church in town. The Congregationalists who did, however, gained only a cursory standing in the community. That left the Episcopalians, who considered themselves the “elite”. They managed to avoid the label of “immigrant” because they claimed to connect their ancestry directly to the Mayflower, England and therefore royalty. But that didn’t stop us Catholics, who were mostly descendants of Italian, Irish and Polish immigrants. We claimed ourselves to be part of the one true religion as we were connected directly to the Pope in Rome, who represented Jesus, who was of course, connected directly to God.

Then there were the Jews, ah yes, “those” people who lived together in an entirely separate area away from town with its own name, Rockville, always a place of mystery as were its inhabitants. They weren’t really part of the equation and we rarely ventured over there. No need to. It wasn’t until later in life when I ventured past my culture-imposed boundaries that I discovered who they were.

My father was very prejudiced and had derogatory names for every race, religion and ethnicity other than his own, which was WASP (White Anglo Saxon Protestant) otherwise known as Episcopalian. My mother, who was Roman Catholic, (God forbid you should forget the connection) was an independent businesswoman and for her time, she possessed a high level of enlightened social consciousness. She stood for inclusivity and equal rights her whole life.

My life was white. My friends, my relatives, my teachers, everyone was white. But I do remember my first exposure to Negros. My father had his own name for them and that was when the fighting began. I became aware very early on there was something really, really bad about the word Nigger, but I didn’t understand. Fortunately, I listened to my mother’s insistence on using the “right” word. It could have so easily gone the other way…

It was always an exciting treat, going to the big city of Boston with my mother. Back then, your Sunday best with white gloves was required dress. We would drive to the edge of the city and get on the elevated. I was careful not to touch anything. My mother, ever the teacher, looked for learning opportunities in everything. As we passed by the dark, impoverished tenement buildings close to the tracks, a lesson in gratitude presented itself. She pointed out how fortunate we were because there were many good people in the world who could not afford to have what we did. They were poor… I looked closely into the window of one of the run-down buildings and I saw a Negro.

Usually, our first exposure to another ethnicity leaves a lasting impression. It seeps into our subconscious and we may spend the rest of our lives locked on to whatever belief we formed at that moment. It becomes our reality. Our truth. We believe it and act from it. We gather evidence to prove it and discard anything to the contrary. We subconsciously do this until we awaken to realize many of the beliefs we formed long ago simply aren’t the truth and our world opens up to an entirely new reality. Some never awaken. They hold on tight to prejudices, judgments and biases passed on from generation to generation.

Fast forward many years to my life in St. Louis in 1997. Although I had traveled, lived and worked all over the world, I still knew I had a lot to learn about racism. I was determined to do so. One day, I went to North St. Louis to the part of town my white friends told me to be careful to avoid. I found a medium-sized Baptist church, parked my car and with my heart pounding out of my chest, I walked in and sat down in the middle of the all Black congregation. I wanted to know what it felt like to be the only person of a “different” skin color. I was there to learn.

I was there to crack open my unconscious racist belief system; I was there to launch one of the most enriching experiences of my life.

I read a lot of books on racism, books written by Black authors about the Black culture, about Black life, about the pain of prejudice and the daily need to endure injustice, about the everyday struggles and joys of Black families. I learned about Black historical figures I had never heard of, names I was never taught in a school of inventors, scientists, poets, authors, lawyers, entrepreneurs. I watched movies that featured Black culture, went to the Black Rep, jazz clubs, and made some wonderful friends in the community who patiently put up with my ignorance and supported my eagerness to learn. I attended race relations workshops and continued on my personal journey to dismantle my own racism and slowly but surely, I gained more awareness. With each step, I freed myself from a self-imposed prison of privileged thinking. Little did I realize how trapped and stuck I had become.

I remember the first time I was invited to a party at the home of a prominent Black couple. They lived in a large, elegant home. The other guests, mostly Black, were clearly accomplished, well-to-do successful people. Paradigm shift! Another stereotype broke loose from the unconscious childhood imprinting from so long ago. I was almost giddy with delight to recognize it and let it go! My journey continues and will until I die. I have a lot to unpack, but so do all of us who identify as White. All I can tell you is that it has been worth every single step.

Fast forward to two years ago. My daughter and I and some friends were in Italy. We were dressed to attend a concert of the Three Tenors and had reservations for dinner beforehand. We arrived at the restaurant and took our seats at the table and waited for the menu… and waited… and waited… We called the waiter and told him of our time constraint and still no menu. People came in much later than we and ordered. All around us, people were being served, but not us. Finally, I asked for the manager and complained. He spoke only in Italian, which I didn’t understand, and he showed no sign of helping us whatsoever. I got mad. In fact, I was furious! We had done nothing to deserve this disrespect! Nothing! How dare they ignore us!  I raised my voice. I pointed my finger at him. I was not pretty. I was not patient. This was not right!!

We finally realized they were refusing to serve us, so with great indignance we left to eat elsewhere. I found out later they had refused to serve us because we were Americans and as such, we represented Trump and they would have nothing to do with us.

I reflected on that incident later and realized for the first time in my entire life, I had been refused service. As a woman and also as one who has a handicap, I have experienced discrimination and I believe most all of it has been subconscious. But for the first time in my life, I experienced overt, blatant, conscious prejudice based on a belief I was someone that I wasn’t, in my beliefs or as a human being.

And look at how angry that little White girl got.  I tried to imagine what it would be like to live with that kind of unfair judgment throughout my entire life… to be excluded for no reason… disregarded and ignored based on preconceived beliefs held by another… again and again and again… day after day… and I couldn’t even come close to understanding.

And that, my friends, is called White privilege.

Please be brutally truthful with yourself:

What was your first thought/reaction when you looked at the above picture and read the title?

What is your life story relative to prejudice and discrimination?

What was your first encounter or exposure to another ethnicity?

What beliefs do you think you formed at that time and since?

What would open up for you if those beliefs were simply not the truth?

Who would you have to be and how would you have to be to make that discovery?

Read Full Post »

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Dr. Martin Luther King

 

Monday was a truly historic day for LGBTQ+ Americans when the Supreme Court guaranteed protection from workplace discrimination in a landmark decision.

But there wasn’t much time to celebrate before we realized the Trump administration was already looking at ways they can get away with discrimination in our health care system.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced plans to only enforce sex discrimination protections under the “plain meaning of the word ‘sex’ as male or female and as determined by biology.”

In the middle of a pandemic, it is unconscionable to give health care providers a license to discriminate. This is a direct attack on transgender and gender non-conforming people and we cannot let it go unnoticed.

Add your name to a petition calling on the Department of Health and Human Services to uphold anti-discrimination protections for transgender and gender non-conforming Americans.

 

Sign Petition To Protect LBGTQ Health

We Americans are good people. Why do we allow things like this to happen to our fellow human beings? This cruel and hateful move will cost lives—and goes to show how deeply broken our health care system is.

Transgender and gender non-conforming Americans—who already face daily discrimination that takes an enormous toll on their health—could now be flat-out denied routine care, such as wellness exams, pap smears, and prostate cancer screenings. Worse yet, they may face obstacles to getting necessary emergency care if they become infected with COVID-19.

No one—absolutely no one—should be denied life-saving care because of who they are.

Now more than ever, it is important for us to join in solidarity with our transgender and gender non-conforming colleagues, friends, and neighbors.

Will you let them know that you’re here and that you care? Your voice matters.

“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”

 Benjamin Franklin

 

Show up! Speak up! Support JUSTICE for all.

Please pass this on.

Your voice matters and your actions matter even more.

VOTE

Read Full Post »

“If they can’t breathe, neither can I.”

Orlando Machias

Self Mastery Basic, Advanced and Source Point Leadership graduate

 

The author of the essay below is a graduate of my self-development courses, so I know him quite well. He is an outstanding man of integrity and caring and had to retire from the police force due to a physical injury. I have not talked to him since the most recent murder of Rayshard Brooks who was just shot in the back by a white policeman, but shortly after George Floyd was murdered, Orlando shared his own experience of racism within the police dept. . . .

 

“Being a former police officer, as well as a person of color, just my perspective….

 

I encountered my own upsetting experiences/issues prior to being in law enforcement (shotgun put to my head while cuffed, wrong person in wrong vehicle but fit description, pulled over dozen times within a year to have vehicle searched, no tickets, no good reasons other than turn signal not used, etc.) and I had some upsetting issues/experiences as well while I was in law enforcement within a department based on my color/culture (listening to racist comments about communities…in jest, seeing some officers treat people differently based upon their own ignorance/bias, “told” to enforce certain practices when it wasn’t policy, singled out and “reprimanded” for use of language when engaged in conversation with others using same language who were not reprimanded, etc.).

 

I have seen/heard/read so many sides to this and at the end of the day, my opinion coupled with substantive examples and statistics, as well as social/emotional feelings….this has absolutely everything to do with color/race/ethnicity, whatever you want to call it.

 

I worked alongside of many great people, good hearted, kind, loving, community oriented, god fearing etc., but, ignorance, status quo, history, rituals, experience, often got in the way of these same officers. Even the love of their God got in the way of their work. Judgement creates incredible differences in people. Could I say some were racists? I could, but the argument would be they have a black/brown friend or fellow officer (sometimes me) so they could refute it. Did some not like other certain types of people? Possibly. Could it be their own experiences, habitual dealings with same group/person, ignorance of others? Maybe.

 

This is a systemic problem, I would call systemic racism. This does not imply that You are a racist (Definiton: a person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another)

 

This is a difficult subject for good natured people who truly feel as though we are all equals. Difficult because it goes against your own virtues.
Here is how it is a problem in particular to law enforcement….

 

Some officers would trump up charges on certain people, while not treating others the same. Cruise “tough” neighborhoods because it was more “fun.” Utilize discretion when “they” saw fit, and not during other times or with certain other people. Now, they were not breaking policy or laws, so couldn’t really report them or make a difference with complaints, but their bias/ignorance infiltrated the “outcomes!”

 

Outcomes is all that should be measured. How many outcomes are directed by bias/ignorance and even more importantly, systemic racism. Outcomes such as the killing of another!

 

I heard often “doesn’t matter who what or where, they break the law I take them to jail!” But it did matter! When their friend’s son got in a big drunken fight and committed an assault, “he’s a good kid from a good family so let’s just send him home.” Now, would they do that for someone they didn’t know? Of course not. Would they be more inclined to do that for someone who looks like them, from same neighborhood, speaks the same language, etc. I say likely.

 

I had a loaded gun pulled on me and came close to losing my life, I was so fortunate to keep myself alive and even more fortunate to not have to take his life! Yes, very fortunate to not have to take a life.

 

I didn’t train to kill, I trained to protect. Never a great shot, why, likely because I never wanted to use it! Can’t honestly say. Always wanted to make it home safe for “my” family, but if that meant I should err on the side of my own life, as opposed to another’s, I always felt torn. I always said if I got killed doing my best to uphold my own integrity, then so be it.

 

I will say that I prefer my mentality as opposed to a militaristic Us vs The Enemy type of mindset which would allow my thought process to shoot at a teenage boy in a local neighborhood even once, let alone several times until they were destroyed.

 

People screw up, it’s what makes us human, but what makes us hated is when we don’t request forgiveness, offer our apologies, or pledge to do better, and actually do better.

 

I agree, majority of police are ethical, reasonable, in it for the right reason, but wife beaters, cheaters, drunks, racists, etc, they bear the blue too! Problem is they are protected. The same union that protects us from BS claims or department discipline for not writing enough tickets, also protects cops who beat their wives or do a variety of other crazy and un-becoming of an officer type of things.

 

Couldn’t bear watching the entire Floyd video, sick to my stomach watching the lifeless body under the knee. I don’t give a shit what he did or didn’t do, he was in cuffs and there were several officers on scene, so WTF!

 

I’m glad I never had to witness and never took part in excessive force. Some interactions I observed were debatable, but luckily I never saw anyone get seriously injured or someone truly go overboard during an arrest and very happy that I never seriously injured anyone I arrested.

 

As for looters, stupid! Protesters, I’m good with it. I will say someone peacefully protesting while kneeling during a national anthem was ridiculed and ostracized, called out by president and hated by many, so do I understand why the protests have grown violent, yes, do I like it, no! Would I protest, yes, right now, no! Only because my values and the voice I want heard would be overshadowed by the extremist groups, opportunists, and many other idiots who have no idea why a protest was even started. Just as the police, actions of a few speak volumes for the many!

 

What else can be done? I have no idea. People talk about prayer, what has that done? Pretty sure Floyd was praying for his killer to stop. People want more prayer in school, is that going to create a better system? Religion has been used to persecute people from the onset of society so pretty sure that is not a basis for an answer.

 

Worst part about all of this is how separate we are becoming. There is currently nothing united about these states we currently live in. Covid-19 caused us to physically stay away from each other, and another senseless death of a colored person at the hands of a white Officer has socially and emotionally, pushed us even farther from one another.

 

United we stand, divided we fall. If they can’t breathe, neither can I.
The brothers and sisters in blue….stay safe, do the right thing, hold each other accountable and demand each other’s best. The public, be the change you want to see in the world.

 

These are interesting times we are living in. May this current extreme darkness bring forth a blinding light for the future.
Not for just my children, but all of ours!!”

 

In the best interest of the police themselves and the people they protect, support the reformation and transformation of our entire justice system starting with the United States Attorney General and all the way down to the cop on the corner . . .

 

Speak UP! Show Up! VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!!
DEMAND JUSTICE FOR ALL!!!

 

Thank you to my good friend Orlando Macias for sharing his truth with us all.

Read Full Post »

“The way we beat this virus, we can beat the virus of racism, we can beat the virus of discrimination, we can beat the virus of inequality…If we can beat this virus, we can beat anything. Look at that strength people showed. You can do anything with that strength.”

 Andrew Cuomo
Governor of New York

 

The basic definition of a leader is one who influences another. It is a position of power and power can corrupt or enlighten. There are two ways people use power when they lead: to empower or overpower.

The weak leader always resorts to the command and control form of leadership. It is hierarchical in structure, judgmental and dictatorial. They are at the apex of the power triangle. Power flows from the top down. This leader operates like the authoritative parent and treats others like children who must obey. These leaders overpower others.
Example: Trump

The truly great leaders on the other hand, are known as collaborative leaders. The hierarchical triangle is inverted with the leaders at the bottom. Power flows up from those at the bottom to support the employees who are at the top. There is mutual respect, everyone is accountable and the leader works with others in an adult/adult partnership. They practice humility and are careful to acknowledge and praise others for successes. These leaders empower and inspire others.
Example: NY Governor Andrew Cuomo

The dialogue below was spoken by Gov. Cuomo during one of his recent press conferences. Read it and listen for the ways he empowers and acknowledges others. Notice he is open, honest, clear in his communication, and transparent.

By trusting in the people he leads, he engenders their trust in him. He knows they are capable of great things and they respond. He draws no attention to himself, nor does he talk about how great he is. He gives all the credit to his people. That’s the type of leader I want to follow….

“The George Floyd death was not just about George Floyd — and we wish his family peace and they’re in our thoughts and prayers—but we tend to look at these situations as individual incidents. They’re NOT individual incidents. When you have one episode, two episodes, maybe you can look at those as individual incidents. But when you have 10 episodes, 15 episodes, you are blind, or in denial if you are still treating each one like a unique situation.

We have an injustice in the criminal justice system that is abhorrent. That is the truth. It doesn’t make me feel good to say that—I’m a former prosecutor—but we have an injustice in the criminal justice system, which is the basic purveyor of justice in this society. And it’s not just George Floyd. You look back even in modern history in my lifetime. This started with Rodney King. Rodney King was 30 years ago.

We suffered in this city through Abner Louima and Amadou Diallo and Sean Bell and Eric Garner. How many times have we seen this same situation? Yes, the names change, but the color doesn’t. And that is the painful reality of this situation. And it’s not just 30 years. It is this nation’s history of discrimination and racism dating back hundreds of years. That is the honest truth and that is what’s behind this anger and frustration. And I share the outrage at this fundamental injustice, I do. And that is why I say I figuratively stand with the protestors BUT—violence is not the answer. It never is the answer.

As a matter of fact, it is counter-productive because then the violence obscures the righteousness of the message and the mission, and you lose the point by the violence in response. And it allows the people, who would choose to scapegoat, to point to the violence rather than the action that created the reaction. The violence allows people to talk about the violence as opposed to honestly addressing the situation that incited the violence. The violence doesn’t work.

Martin Luther King, Dr. King, God rest his soul, he taught us this. He knew better than anyone who is speaking to us today on this issue. “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.” Yes, anger. Yes, outrage. Yes, frustration. But not violence…”

Returning to talk about the Coronavirus, he continued…

“We helped each other. We respected each other. We protected each other. We were there one for the other. People across the state volunteering to help other parts of the state, people from upstate coming down to help downstate. People from downstate going to help upstate, people from across the country coming to help us; leaving their homes in other states to come here, it was really community, mutuality, and all the things we hope to be, manifested, it happened.

We needed people to rise above themselves, to get past the pettiness, to get past the selfishness, to be bigger than themselves and they did it. And for me, the microcosm of it, the metaphor for all of it was the frontline workers. What they did. They are modern-day heroes. I was saying to the people of this state, “This is dangerous, stay home, protect your family,” and in the same breath I was saying to the frontline workers, “Not you, you have to go to work tomorrow morning.” In the same breath.

I was saying to myself, ‘What happens if they don’t?’ What happens if the frontline workers say, ‘This is dangerous. I’m afraid. I’m going to stay home like everybody else’? What would’ve happened if the nurses didn’t show up? If the doctors didn’t show up? And the bus drivers didn’t show up? And the subway conductors didn’t show up? And the food delivery people didn’t show up? And the pharmacists didn’t show up? And delivery women and men didn’t show up?

What would’ve happened if there was no food on the shelves? What would’ve happened if there was no one in the emergency rooms when you showed up? You want to talk about crisis? You want to talk about pain? But these frontline workers, despite the risk…I had to highlight the risk because I needed people to stay home, so I spoke to the risk, but then despite the risk, I had to ask them—my voice speaking for all of us—please, help us and go to work tomorrow. Please show up to work because it is your role, your duty, your obligation to us.

And they did. They did.

I was not comfortable asking. I will tell you the God’s honest truth. I knew they were putting themselves at risk. I knew it. And I don’t envy any Chief Executive of this nation who has to order women and men to go to war. I can’t imagine how that would feel. I know how I felt having to ask our frontline workers, I need you. I need you to show up. And they did. They put their lives at risk to serve others.

And in that moment, they were not ‘black’ frontline workers, they were not ‘white’ frontline workers. They were not ‘Latino’ frontline workers, they were not ‘Bronx’ frontline workers, they were not ‘Brooklyn’ frontline workers, they were not ‘Buffalo’ frontline workers. They were just Americans. They were linked by the commonality of humanity.

And the better angels said, ‘Get past your fear, get past your weakness, don’t stay home. Rise up. Be stronger, be better than you think you can be yourself. Get in touch with your strength and hear that strength,’ and we did it. And we acted as one.

This diverse community of New York, people from all over the globe, different languages, we acted as one. And many of those people gave their lives for us during that time. They gave their lives because we asked them to show up for us, and they did.

Let’s learn from their example. Let’s understand what they did. We see all the success in those numbers, and how far we’ve come…it didn’t just happen. People literally gave their lives so others could live. They ARE the front line heroes. They ARE the ones who charged up the hill, when they knew the enemy was firing. They showed that same bravery—they showed that same courage. And they did it only because we asked. Not because they were getting paid more money or they were going to get a medal— because they didn’t. They did it because it was the right thing to do. They did it out of love, that’s what they did.

They didn’t die in vain. They have changed me. And I believe they’ve made me a better person by their example and by their lesson. And I will never ever forget what they did. And I will strive to be half as courageous and half as brave as they have been and to hear those better angels and get in touch with that strength, and to respond from that strength, that is their spirit.

Yes, be outraged. Yes, be frustrated. Demand better. Demand justice, but not violent. Not violent. Productive and smart, act from strength, not fear. Love, not hate.

And there is nothing that we can’t overcome. We showed that here. We beat this damn virus. And if we’re smart, we’ll continue to beat it. But the way we beat this virus, we can beat the virus of racism, we can beat the virus of discrimination, we can beat the virus of inequality…

If we can beat this virus, we can beat anything. Look at that strength people showed. You can do anything with that strength.

Our leaders may not be as good as the American people and as strong as the American people, and as kind as the American people, but it’s still ‘We, the People’.

And we, the people, shall overcome.”

Read Full Post »

“Ignorance aligned with power is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”

James Baldwin

 

Out of our commitment to reach racial justice, we who identify as White, must eradicate our ignorance. Out of our commitment to ultimately reach a place of true understanding and acceptance of all people, we must be willing to identify the racism that exists within ourselves. Out of our commitment to be a source for healing and not hurt, then we must seek out every opportunity to edify ourselves and learn how to do so.

 

The following powerful 7 minute video will inform you.

Please click on the picture below and listen to this woman share her experience of her life as a person of color and let her message sink in.

A Poem for My White Friends

Thank you to my good friend Heidi C for sharing this video with us.

Read Full Post »

“Let me be clear. This is revolting. The Bible is not a prop. A church is not a photo op. Religion is not a political tool. God is not your plaything.”

James Martin, SJ

Jesuit priest and author of Jesus: A Pilgrimage and Building a Bridge

Clergy Denounce Trump’s Hypocrisy

Other Catholic leaders also joined Bishop Budde in criticizing the president. On Tuesday, Trump and his wife Melania went to the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, DC for another awkward photo-op.

This time, Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory weighed in, issuing a statement saying that Saint John Paul II “certainly would not condone the use of tear gas and other deterrents to silence, scatter, or intimidate them for a photo opportunity in front of a place of worship and peace.”

Reaction from some Roman Catholic leaders was particularly sharp in light of Trump’s scheduled visit on June 2 to the John Paul II National Shrine in Washington.

“I find it baffling and reprehensible any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles,” Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory said in a written statement that also referenced the president’s photo op in front of St. John’s. He added the late Pope John Paul II “certainly would not condone the use of tear gas and other deterrents to silence, scatter or intimidate them for a photo opportunity in front of a place of worship and peace.”

Robert Hendrickson, Rector at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Tucson, Arizona said,

“This is an awful man, waving a book he hasn’t read, in front of a church he doesn’t attend, invoking laws he doesn’t understand, against fellow Americans he sees as enemies, wielding a military he dodged serving, to protect power he gained via accepting foreign interference, exploiting fear and anger he loves to stoke, after failing to address a pandemic he was warned about, and building it all on a bed of constant lies and childish inanity.”

Other Episcopal bishops echoed condemnation of the incident.

What President Trump did in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square, on the evening of June 1 was disgraceful and morally repugnant,” the bishops of New England wrote in a statement. “Displaying a Bible from which he did not quote, using as a mere backdrop—an Episcopal church—where he did not pray, and – more callously – ordering law enforcement to clear, with force and tear gas, a path through demonstrators who had gathered in peace, President Trump distorted for his own purposes the cherished symbols of our faith to condone and stoke yet more violence.”

“We are confident the leaders of our church in Washington would have been happy to meet the president at Saint John’s and pray with him for our country, for the lost, for the grieving, for the long-suffering, and for all those who never weary of striving for the birth of the Beloved Community, had he asked,” the bishops of New York wrote. “We are, though, unprepared for our sacred sites to be appropriated to other and political purposes, just as we were unprepared for a speech so filled with recrimination, so punishing, and so uncomprehending of the depth of the pain and suffering across the country he was elected to lead.”

“The people of the church you stood in front of last night pray for you every Sunday,” Bishop J. Russell Kendrick of the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast wrote in an open letter to Trump. “I know they do, because I am a bishop in the same denomination, and the churches in my diocese pray for you, too. Congregations full of liberal, conservative, and independent people of all races and all orientations… When you parted a way through the crowds, crossed the street in order to take a photo, stood on the steps of a church, and held up a Bible, it felt little like what I love, know and strive for as a child of God.”

The incident has drawn condemnation from Christian leaders throughout the country:

“The president used federal troops to clear a path through peaceful protesters in order to stand before an Episcopal church make a statement and hold up a bible,” Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, said on Twitter. “Not only was this manipulative, it was desecration.”

However, some evangelicals in Texas and in the South, who call themselves “Christian” say they like a tough-guy president.

Although this President has shown little, if any, interest in personal piety; although he famously declared he has never asked God for forgiveness, a cornerstone of Christianity; although he rarely attends church outside of Christmas and Easter, to some white Christians, who saw their influence dip during the Obama administration, Trump has been a godsend.

As the scholar Kristin Kobes du Mez has noted, Trump has tapped into some evangelicals’ admiration for tough guys and preference for a Christianity that muscles out other faiths.

“I want the meanest, toughest, son-of-a-you-know-what I can find in that role,” said Pastor Robert Jeffress, a Dallas megachurch pastor and staunch Trump ally. “And I think that’s where many evangelicals are.”

I guess he means it’s okay to assault peaceful protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets in order to march through Lafayette Square just to get a photo-op with a Bible in front of a church… all food that feeds his power-hungry base.

Is that what Jesus, the Peacemaker, would do?

The hypocrisy is blatantly clear.

The past week has been immensely painful for the country. The division among American Christians is just one more layer of grief. For anyone, especially other Christians, who feel like, Are we still in the same Church? I would simply ask them:

“Please come back to the way of love. Listen to your heart and the voice inside your head that knows this is wrong. Following in Jesus’s footsteps does not lead us onto the same path this president has laid out.”

Read Full Post »

“I just want the world to know that we, in the diocese of Washington, following Jesus and his way of love, we distance ourselves from the incendiary language of this president.”

 

Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde

Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese, Washington, DC

June1, 2020

The Great Divider, the amoral, racist president, Donald Trump, thrives on chaos and conflict. He governs through oppression, repression, and uses the power and privilege of his position to overpower and control anyone and everyone who doesn’t agree with him. He uses people to his own advantage and has managed to manipulate and dupe millions of people to blindly follow him. He pretends to espouse Christian values when he has no values whatsoever.

WAKE UP CHRISTIANS!!!!

He’s a tyrant. “Disobey me and I will hit you and hurt you!” said the abuser…To the protesters he warned they would be met by “vicious dogs” (reminiscent of the police attacks in the 60’s on civil rights marchers) and “ominous weapons” if they tried to breach the White House. There is ZERO empathy for the slain George Floyd or his family, ZERO kindness, understanding or love, ZERO care for the United States of America or its people. All he cares about and all he wants is almighty, omnipotent power over everything – just like God.

What would Jesus say? What would Jesus do?

Thank God, we have a TRUE, devout follower of Christian values in Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde who is quoted below in a June 1st interview.

Do your part to preserve decency and true morals in this country.

Please send this to every person you know who supports Trump (and his Republican followers) and claims to be a “Christian”. They have been led astray.

It seems to me he is more like the Devil who likes to divide and conquer than Jesus who brings people together with love. Invite them to return to the values of a true Christian and encourage them to return to love.

Interviewer:

What are your thoughts as you saw what happened and as you look at images now of so many Americans crying out in the streets for law and order that is applied equally, to all of us, regardless of color, regardless of economic status?

Bishop:

“Let me be clear, the president just used a bible, a sacred text of Judeo-Christian religion and one of my church’s diocese, without permission, as a back-drop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and everything our churches stand for. And to do so, he sanctioned the use of tear-gas by police officers in riot gear to clear the church yard.

I am outraged. The president did not pray when he came into St. John’s, nor did he acknowledge the agony of our country right now, in particular, that of our people of color in our Nation, who wonder if anyone in public power will ever acknowledge their sacred words and who are rightfully demanding an end to 400 years of systemic racism and white supremacy in our country.

I just want the world to know that we, in the diocese of Washington, following Jesus and his way of love, we distance ourselves from the incendiary language of this president. We follow someone who lived a life of non-violence and sacrificial love. We align ourselves with those seeking justice for the death of George Floyd and countless others through the sacred act of peaceful protest and I just can’t believe what my eyes have seen tonight.”

Interviewer: You had no idea he was going to be there?

Bishop:

“I had no idea. I was watching the news with everyone else and as you might imagine, I had been fielding out phone calls, emails and texts of outrage from my people and from people all across my country wondering what one earth did we just witness?

I hear everything else that has been said tonight as I was allowed to eavesdrop on the first part of your conversation, which was equally significant in terms of our symbolism of our civic institution. But what I am here to talk about is the abuse of sacred symbols for the people of faith in this country to justify language, rhetoric, and approach to this crisis that is antithetical to everything we stand for—everything this state stands for.”

Interviewer:

There were so many religious leaders—people from the faith community—who took part in civil rights demonstrations, who were integral to the success of civil rights demonstrations, year after year. There were faith leaders, not just Dr. King, but members of different faith communities, who were killed in the city and elsewhere.

Bishop:

“Right! These are our heroes. These are our martyrs of mostly people of color, but some beautiful white allies, who were privileged to stand with them. These are the people who show us what it looks like to live and walk a life of faith, right? THAT is what it looks like. That’s our legacy – that’s our hope! That is our only hope in this country.

So much has been gained and so much has been lost in these last 40 years and I feel that the soul of our nation is at stake right now and we need moral leadership. We also need political leadership because the people of faith in this country cannot act as a substitute for sound, civic government, moral leadership and effective laws that are justfully enforced for all people.

And that is something that all people of faith, all people of goodwill, and all people of no faith at all but believe in the civic principals of this country can agree. And in that public square we stand, we must prevail as a people because what we’re witnessing now is the shredding of our national fabric.

To hear the entire interview, please go to:

Bishop Marian Edgar Budde’s interview

 

 

Read Full Post »

My Dear Friends,

The work of transformation, to which I and many of you have dedicated your lives, will not tolerate any form of injustice. Inequality, tyranny, prejudice, bigotry, and any behavior that undermines the rights and dignity of another human being are anathema to all we stand for. It doesn’t work in business, relationships or life.

Therefore, I am dedicating the month of June to JUSTICE. I will speak out about racial inequality, socio-economic disparity, abuse of power (political and otherwise) and I’ll be sharing my own personal experiences as well as articles or speeches from others which I think are relevant and important for people to read.

We cannot…..we MUST not allow the momentum we have to make changes just fade away without action….as it has so many times before.

Will you please assist me in this?

Educate yourselves, and PLEASE pass on the information…help inform others…if we work together, we CAN do this…This is about US!

Also, please send me your own comments, or anything you would like people to read.

The information below is intended to serve as a resource to people who identify as white and parents to deepen our anti-racism work. If you haven’t engaged in anti-racism work in the past, start now. We White folks have a lot of work to do.

Please circulate this document on social media and to every White person you know.

We can all do better…

 

Resources for white parents to raise anti-racist children: 

These links are intended to serve as a resource to white people and parents to deepen our anti-racism work. If you haven’t engaged in anti-racism work in the past, start now. Feel free to circulate this document on social media.

 

(Hit Ctrl+Click to access links if your device doesn’t link you automatically.) 

 

Resources for white parents to raise anti-racist children:

 

Articles to read:

 

Videos to watch:

 

Podcasts to subscribe to:

Books to read:

Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Dr. Brittney Cooper

Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

Color by Cherríe Moraga

Films and TV series to watch:

  • 13th (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix
  • American Son (Kenny Leon) — Netflix
  • Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975 — Available to rent
  • Clemency (Chinonye Chukwu) — Available to rent
  • Dear White People (Justin Simien) — Netflix
  • Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler) — Available to rent
  • I Am Not Your Negro (James Baldwin doc) — Available to rent or on

Kanopy

  • If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins) — Hulu
  • Just Mercy (Destin Daniel Cretton) — Available to rent
  • King In The Wilderness — HBO
  • See You Yesterday (Stefon Bristol) — Netflix
  • Selma (Ava DuVernay) — Available to rent
  • The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution — Available to rent
  • The Hate U Give (George Tillman Jr.) — Hulu with Cinemax
  • When They See Us (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix

 

Organizations to follow on social media:

| Instagram

| Facebook 

| Instagram

| Facebook

| Instagram

| Facebook

| Instagram

| Facebook 

| Instagram | Facebook

| Instagram | Facebook

| Instagram

| Facebook 

| Facebook

| Instagram

| Facebook

| Instagram | Facebook

 

More anti-racism resources to check out:

anti-racism resources

to Learn and Talk About Race and Racism

Justice’s educational toolkits

an introduction to police brutality from 100 Year Hoodie

teaching materials

 

Document compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker, Alyssa Klein in May 2020.

 

Thank you to Kristin Farese for sharing this on Facebook 

 

Read Full Post »

“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.” 

Abraham Lincoln

 WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. (Does this sound like the country you’re living in?)

Please watch this NOW: (the best video ever!)

Click on picture below…

“The strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the determination of each citizen to defend it. Only if every single citizen feels duty bound to do his share in this defense are the constitutional rights secure.”

Albert Einstein

We have work to do, but first people have to

Wake Up and Realize What is Happening!

Please help enroll others in the dire need for CHANGE and pass this on to everyone you know.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »